More Advice

From the look on Beckett's face you can see this is going to be a rather lengthy and boring post. 

A few months ago I wrote down some words of wisdom I wanted to remember regarding being pregnant (click here). Well now it's time to write down some tips and pointers for the hospital trip and the first month at home. Hopefully this will be helpful to any first time mamas out there, and also for me to remember for round two. I can already feel my brain power diminishing so I better write down what I can remember now!

At the Hospital
  • It must be a myth that food and water is forbidden once you get to the hospital. We knew it was going to be a while before I had my epidural so when I asked my nurse if I could eat a little something, she said yes. Mark ran out to get me some food and I ended up only being able to eat literally one bite, but it was nice to know I could eat if I wanted to for a little bit. Starving to death is a real fear of mine. Maybe the nurse wasn't supposed to tell me that though, because when I told the anesthesiologist I had eaten a few hours before she got very stern with me and told me no more. 
  • Take your own pillow. The hospital's pillows are like laying on a wad of cheap toilet paper.
  • If you plan on getting an epidural, you still need to prepare yourself for a little bit of pain. It's not getting the epidural, and it's not even having the baby. I honestly feel that the most painful part of the whole experience was when they took the tape off my back that held the epidural in. Free back wax anyone? 
  • Do not count on walking normally for at least a week. I used to think it would be embarrassing if they made me leave the hospital in a wheel chair. When they didn't, I was actually disappointed because it meant I had to slowly hobble my way past everyone in the waiting room. 
  • Some people prefer to stay in the hospital gowns, but I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. Taking a shower and putting on my own sweats never felt so good. Pack lots of comfy clothes that aren't form fitting. You will still look slightly prego for a few days. 
  • Install the car seat and figure out how it works before you go to the hospital. It's harder than you might think and you want to appear to be capable, confident parents as much as possible even if it's not true. 
At Home
  • Many people wait a few months before they start any sort of sleep training. I say start within the first few weeks while they don't know any different. It's going to be much easier to teach them from the beginning, rather than waiting until they are a few months old and then you have to let them cry it out. That doesn't sound very fun to me. 
  • Write down everything the first few days you are home. I had a note book to keep track of which pain medications I had taken and at what time, how long he ate on each side and at what time, and how many diapers he had. I wasn't necessarily sleep deprived, but a little overwhelmed with everything. 
  • Start brushing their hair every day right away to prevent cradle cap. 
  • Make sure the little boy parts are pointing down before you do the diaper up. We had several leaky diapers a day until I found out about this trick. I don't know how these boy things are supposed to work! 
  • There are the obvious things you need to have ready at home before the baby comes, but there are a few things that aren't so obvious I would recommend buying before the baby is born: a thermometer, diaper rash cream, gas bubble relief medicine, and baby tylenol. These are all things you're going to need at some time. It's been nice to have them on hand the second I need them rather than running out the store in the middle of the night. 
  • Some people are against this, but we've decided to put a white noise machine in whatever room he is sleeping in. I actually use an air filter and kill two birds with one stone. I don't want him to get used to falling asleep in his swing or anything that's hard to maintain, but white noise machines are small and easily transported when he is going to be taking a nap away from home. Right now he would sleep through anything, but when he's older it will help so we don't have to be concerned about tip toeing around or the door bell ringing. 
  • If you are going to splurge on something, make it the car seat and swing. Our swing is my favorite. It detaches and turns into a bouncer so if he is asleep in the swing it's easy to move him without waking him up! Once you have a baby in your car, every other driver is an instant enemy and obviously not driving safely enough near your car. I don't care how much it costs, I'm happy to have a super safe car seat that is as cushy as a marshmallow! Everything else can come from KSL and yardsales. 
  • I heard from so many people that a changing table was a waste of space, but I don't know what I would do without mine! It's the perfect place to store everything, and there has been more than one instance that poop and pee went everywhere! I'm glad it was easy to throw the pad on the table in the wash. Make sure to have at least two pads because it seems like I always have at least one in the wash. 
  • Those little baby gloves don't seem to stay on very well. We ended up buying a few extra newborn outfits that covered his hands just a few days after he was born so we didn't have to worry about it. If you do need to cover their little hands, baby socks work way better than the gloves. 
  • I knew I was going to try nursing, but honestly didn't think I would stick with it so I wasn't very prepared. I wish I had a few nursing bras and camis, nursing pads, and a pump ready to go. 
  • Lansinoh nursing pads are the best! 
  • Pack lanolin in your hospital bag. It's a life saver! 
  • Put on a nursing bra before you go into labor and make sure it's a comfy one. I had to have a nurse help me change bras. Not the most embarrassing thing the nurses had to help me do, but it would have been much easier if I was just ready to go. 
  • If they offer you little sticky soothing pads for nursing, I would maybe pass. They do help everything feel a little better, but unlike lanolin, you have to wash off any residue before you can nurse. It leaves a very bitter taste and probably some chemicals that aren't good for the baby. I was a bit sore and so sensitive that it was hard to wash off. I finally realized the bitter taste was part of the reason I was having a hard time nursing. Once I stopped using them and just stuck with lanolin, he did great! 
  • Find a good series on Netflix to watch. You will spend a lot of time sitting and not being able to use your hands to hold a book or do anything else. 
  • You get fairly bad cramps while nursing for the first few days. It's actually your uterus contracting and shrinking. This is good news! Try to focus on the fact that your stomach is shrinking rather than the pain.